By Zach Vlasuk
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
As Infiniti's flagship sedan, the 2012 Infiniti M delivers A-list levels of luxury, style and performance. On the value front, the Infiniti M offers a host of upscale features as standard issue along with more standard horsepower than its BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS and Audi A6 competitors. The 2012 Infiniti M lineup features an enticing array of models and drivetrains to choose from, including the value-packed M37, the 420-horsepower M56, a fuel-efficient hybrid version, and an available performance-oriented all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
If you are open to purchasing a luxury mid-size sedan without a prestigious German nameplate, you might find the Infiniti M's artful blend of performance, luxury and value tough to beat.
Despite its elegant design, the Infiniti M does not command the same attention as its BMW and Audi rivals. Furthermore, while class-leading standard horsepower is appealing to some, those seeking laudable fuel economy without the hybrid price tag might favor the BMW 528i's 34-mpg highway rating.
For 2012, Infiniti introduces a new 360-horsepower M Hybrid to the mix. Additionally, non-hybrid models offer a new premium 18-inch wheel option as well as simplified packaging for M56 models.
Driving Impressions The 2012 M is truly a blast on the road. With three eager powertrains, a comfortable interior and an impressive list of new and innovative technology to make your drive...even better, there's blessedly little to complain about. Technologies like 4Wheel Active Steer and downshift rev-matching enhance the car's fun-to-drive quotient, while lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring subtly help keep you safe. And the interior's a pretty nice place to spend some time – the seats are supportive, the dash intuitive and the M's iPod connectivity and searchability are among the best out there. The M Hybrid, which Infiniti claims is the world's fastest full-hybrid, delivers on its promise of combining the fuel efficiency of a hybrid with the engaging driving dynamics of a performance sedan.
Active Noise Control
Every Infiniti M features Active Noise Control to keep aural unpleasantries caused by the engine or the open-air concert taking place in the adjacent vehicle out of the cabin. The system uses a ceiling-mounted microphone to detect and reduce low-frequency sounds for a more tranquil driving experience.
4Wheel Active Steer
For increased agility and control at any speed, the 2012 Infiniti M employs an optional 4Wheel Active Steer feature that seamlessly adjusts the steering angle of all four wheels and the steering ratio according to the vehicle's speed.
Outfitted in rich, warm leather and high-quality soft-touch materials, the 2012 Infiniti M delivers an inviting in-cabin experience. The M's spacious greenhouse comfortably accommodates its occupants with 10-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather-trimmed seating surfaces and generous rear-seat legroom. The available Deluxe Touring Package takes the Infiniti M's already well-executed interior to a new level with semi-aniline leather-appointed seating, a 16-speaker Bose audio system, a suede-like headliner and striking White Ash silver-powdered wood trim sprinkled with flecks of real silver. The only sour note is the all-in-one control knob's inconvenient placement – a critical ergonomic flaw considering the module's extensive responsibilities over the audio, climate, vehicle information and convenience features.Exterior
Combining a muscular stance and a sleek profile, the 2012 Infiniti M is among the most stylish cars in its class. The Infiniti M's modern look is complemented by xenon headlights for both the low and high beams along with LED taillights. All Infiniti M models ride on standard 18-inch split 5-spoke wheels, while rear-wheel-drive (RWD) M37 and M56 models offer fender-filling 20-inch wheels. The Sport Package option adds a touch of aggression to the M's exterior with a smoked grille and headlight housings, unique front end, larger brakes and 20-inch performance summer tires.
The 2012 Infiniti M37 and M Hybrid come standard with Infiniti's Drive Mode Selector (Standard, Eco, Sport and Snow modes), leather seating, heated and 10-way power front seats, a 6-speaker audio system with USB connectivity for MP3/WMA players, Bluetooth, active noise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 7-inch color display for audio/climate/vehicle settings, and keyless entry and start with driver memory settings. Moving up to the M56 adds a 5.6-liter V8, cooled front seats, a Bose 10-speaker sound system, a navigation system with SiriusXM NavTraffic and NavWeather, a 9.3GB hard drive for music storage and Bluetooth streaming audio. Safety equipment on every Infiniti M includes active head restraints, six airbags and automatic hazard lights that activate upon airbag deployment.
Regardless of powertrain, an Infiniti M can be outfitted to your liking. Available creature comforts include a Bose Studio Surround System with digital 5.1-channel decoding and 16-speakers, power rear sunshade, semi-aniline leather seating, silver-metallic wood trim, and a "Forest Air" system with breeze mode, which cleans and modulates the air flowing into the cabin. If you'd like your M37 or M56 to stand out, opt for the Sport Package, which adds 20-inch split 5-spoke wheels with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, 4-wheel active steering, sport brakes, magnesium paddle shifters, sport seats and unique front fascia, grille and headlight surrounds. All of the latest and greatest safety technology offered by Infiniti is encapsulated in the Technology Package, including adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and prevention, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive front lighting systems for increased visibility around dark corners.
The 2012 Infiniti M comes with a choice of three engines: a 330-horsepower V6 (the same engine found in the G37), a 420-horsepower V8, or a new 360-horsepower V6 hybrid. Every engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode along with a race-inspired downshift rev-matching feature for non-hybrid models. Unfortunately, with great horsepower comes great financial responsibility. And despite average EPA fuel economy ratings, our real-world driving experiences have revealed that both the M37 and M56 have an exceptional thirst for fuel. Moreover, adding all-wheel drive to the M brings with it a greater penalty in fuel economy.
330 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (RWD), 17/24 mpg (AWD)
420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg (RWD), 16/23 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter V6 + electric motor
Hybrid system net horsepower: 360
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/32 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 Infiniti M starts around $48,500 in base M37 trim and approaches over $70,000 for a fully-loaded M56. Adding all-wheel drive ups both prices by about $2,500. The new M Hybrid starts around $54,500 and tops out just under $69,000. The 2012 Infiniti M is competitive price-wise with the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, although the Infiniti offers more standard features than either German competitor. While the base Audi A6 offers less standard equipment, it does undercut the M's starting price by nearly $6,000. To be sure that you're getting the best deal on your M, be sure to check kbb.com's Fair Purchase Price for what consumers are actually paying in your market area. In terms of resale value, the M is expected to see above-average residuals over time, not quite as high as those offered by BMW or Lexus, but on par with Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
By JohnnyD (NC) on Sunday, November 25, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "high quality, reliability, outstanding interior"
Cons: "Hard navigation system to master."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car since August 2011 and now have over 16000 miles on it. It has never needed anything but regular oil changes. The ride quality, acceleration, and quality are comparable to my last car a Lexus LS-460. I got the Deluxe Touring Package which gives you the outstanding Analine Leather interior and rear sunshade. If you can get a car with it, do it. I know it comes in the Lexus also, as an option package. It's worth the expense. The only negative about the car is the Infiniti navigation system which I find hard to master. Other than that problem, the car is great and even if I had more money I wouldn't buy anything else. I considered the BMW 535 and Lexus GS-350. I didn't like the front grill on the Lexus or the unreliability reputation of the BMW. Lexus and Infiniti give you a Lexus or Infiniti loaner car when in for service while BMW uses Enterprise rental cars. You will also find the Lexus and Infiniti dealerships and service superior to most other car dealerships."
16 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By M56S Owner (GA) on Saturday, October 20, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "power, features and luxury for the price, handling"
Cons: "no remote start"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Best car I've ever owned. Tons of power. Fantastic handling. Incredible styling inside and out. Have had the car for 2 months and not one problem. Engine and transmission is extremely quiet and incredibly smooth."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Sweets (TX) on Sunday, October 14, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great look"
Cons: "Transmission problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Before I could get the temporary tags removed from my brand new car, I began to have problems with it. The indicator light signaled Engine problems on the day I picked up the tags. I was told by the associate that often the engine signaled a loosely replaced gas cap. Even the manual gave the same information. According to the manual, the Engine light would go out after a few days once I tightened the gas cap again which was not loose. I have been told that there is a problem with the transmission switch. Moreover, the service department has had my car for over a week. Because I had not heard from the service department for a week, I initiated a call to the department only to be told that the part has not been sent in and it will take another 2 weeks or so before the part would come in and the car repaired. In the meantime, I am driving a rental that has an engine oil light on and an expired inspection sticker. This is my first and probably last infinity."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By J (NC) on Friday, October 05, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "beautiful styling, fast when punched"
Cons: "horrific transmission in traffic, fading brakes"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Transmission problems for two years, software issue for the 7 speed, per Infiniti, with no fix in sight. Now brake fading/creeping issues."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Rob (TX) on Saturday, September 29, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Plenty of power, great styling in and out"
Cons: "Horrible road. Taking a bath to get rid of it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"On paper and in the flesh, this M56 is a beautiful car. Gorgeous styling inside and out, inviting cabin, and loads of power and torque. But get this beast on anything other that a glass-smooth pavement and the road noise is just awful. I spent the extra few thousand for the Deluxe Touring Package, which bought me the Bose sound system. What a waste of money. At 55 mph, the volume on this multi-hundred watt system has to be at 3/4 full power to drown out the road noise. Rear seat passengers get a full blast of road noise from the rear wheel arches just behind them. At 70 mph on the freeway, it's hard to hold a conversation with the front seat passenger. Avoid this car."
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By dotman13 (GA) on Wednesday, August 08, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, features and quality"
Cons: "gas mileage a little on the lower side"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great car for the price and the features offered. I have the Technology Package, which has everything that you can imagine on a car, it nearly drives itself. Very smooth ride and very sharp and sporty looking. GREAT combination of luxury ride and sports car ride. Interior well appointed and has a luxurious look and feel."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful